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Continental J. Agricultural Economics 5: 7 - 13, 201 1 ISSN: 2141-4130 

© Wilolud Journals, 201 1 http://www.wiloludjournal.com 

Printed in Nigeria 

PERFORMANCE OF SWEETPOTATO MARKETING SYSTEM IN UMUAHIA MARKET, 

ABIA STATE, NIGERIA. 

Akinpelu A.O and Adenegan K.O 
NIHORT, Umudike, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria 

ABSTRACT 

The study was carried out to evaluate the profitability of sweetpotato in the market among other 
objectives. One hundred wholesalers and one hundred retailers respectively were randomly selected in 
the market. Economic indices used to evaluate the marketing system included the marketing margin, 
marketing efficiency, return on investment, benefit cost ratio and the Gini coefficient. The results of the 
marketing margin were N6, 300.00 and N4,010.00 respectively for wholesalers and retailers. Benefit - 
cost ratio showed that an investor would gain NI. 15 and NI. 08 respectively for every NI. 00 spent in 
marketing sweetpotato. The Gini coefficient showed inequality in income distribution thus signifying 
an imperfect competitive market. Government policies should be directed towards reducing 
transportation costs, rent charged by the Local Government Authority and provision of micro credit for 
the traders to expand their purchases. 

KEYWORDS: Sweetpotato, Economic indices, Marketing margin, investment, Umuahia 

INTRODUCTION 

Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) is an important crop in many countries and has been cultivated for 
food, animal feed and industrial raw material. It originated from Central Africa (Nwauzor and Afuape 2005) and 
is the only member of the genus Ipomoea whose roots are edible, and is one of the world's most important food 
crops due to its high yield and nutritive value (Data and Eronico, 1987). It is extensively cultivated in tropical 
and sub-tropical zones (Islam et al, 2002). 

It belongs to the Convolvulaceae family and it is grown for both human and animal consumption (Nwadili et al 
2007). This root crop will become more important in the 2 Ist century than in the 20th century, and is expected 
to be used in immense quantity as raw materials for biodegradable plastics and for fuel of automobiles (Kozai et 
al., 1996a; 1996b). The cultivation and production of sweetpotato is on the increase in Nigeria (Afuape, 2006). 
The crop has moved up from the minor crop status it used to occupy (Agboola, 1979) to an enviable position of 
being the fourth most important root and tuber crop in Nigeria after cassava, yam and cocoyam. Its production 
has increased from 149,000 metric tones in 1961 to 106,197 million metric tons (FAO, 2007). Despite this 
increase, yield on farmers' fields have remained low at 6.8t/ha (Tewe et al., 2003). Sweetpotato is a highly 
recommended food security crop that can help low-income countries ride out turmoil created by food price 
increases (IYP, 2008). 

Sweetpotato (Ipomea batatas L) is a major crop that suffered serious neglect in the past but now occupies global 
position as a source of food and industrial raw material (Njoku,2007).It is a widely grown crop in Nigeria. The 
high nutritive value and performance under resource-poor condition make it attractive to farmers and 
households (Njoku, 2006). China is the highest producer of sweetpotato in the world (75.80mt/per 
annum). Nigeria ranks third in the world and second in Africa with a production figure of 2.43mt (FAO, 2009). It 
is interesting to note that unlike cereai crops (rice, wheat and maize) sweetpotato is not a globally traded 
commodity and its prices are usually determined by local supply and demand. 

In Nigeria, sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) production, marketing and utilisation have expanded beyond the 
tradiţional areas of the central and riverine zones to the humid, sub-humid and semi-arid regions in the last two- 
and-a-half decades (Tewe et al, 2003). Existing figures on production cost of N32,000/ha, N29,847.80/ha and 
N3,244.00/ha respectively reported by Tewe, et a/,2003, Asumugha, 1999 and Eluagu et al 1989 have been 
overtaken by economic reforms. Ogbonna et al, 2005 reported production cost and gross return of 
N149,355.20/ha and N274,054.00/ha respectively. 



Akinpelu A. O and Adenegan K.O: Continental J. Agricultural Economics 5: 7 - 13, 2011 



Marketing according to Kohls and Uhl (1990), is concerned with all stages of operation, which aid movement of 
commodities from producers to consumers. The level of efficiency in the market is determined by assessing the 
marketing structure, conduct and performance amongst other conditions. 

Market performance may be seen as a representative of market structure and conduct. The performance 
characteristics features of a food market rest on marketing efficiency measured by the following indicators - 
marketing margin, market competition, consumer prices and availability of physical marketing facilities (Barau 
et al, 1993). The performance of staple food marketing system is determined by the structural characteristics of 
the market and the behavioural characteristics of the market participants (Durojaiye and Showemimo, 
1990). According to Anuebunwa (2008), the structural characteristics of the food market are those features of the 
market which seem to affect the behaviour and the performance of the market. The number and size of the 
sellers and buyers is a significant feature. 

Many authors have agreed that generally, gross margins in food and vegetable marketing are very low due to 
bulkiness, which increase transportation cost and space; perishable nature of the commodity, and high risk and 
uncertainty (Njoku,1994; Anuebunwa, 2002,2007; Anuebunwa, et al., 2006). 

Information on sweetpotato marketing is scanty. Consequently, there is a gap in knowledge. This gap is intended 
to be filled by this study. Hence, it will assess the performance of sweetpotato marketing systems in Umuahia 
market, Abia State with specific objectives to 

1 . examine the socio economic characteristics of retailers in the study area; 

2. identify wholesalers and retailers in the study area; 

3. assess the profitability of sweetpotato marketing system among the traders; 

METHODOLOGY 

The study was carried out in Umuahia main market in Abia State. The market is located within Umuahia North 
Local Government Area. The Local Government Area is one of the seventeen Local Government Areas in the 
state. Abia State is in the South-east agro ecology zone of Nigeria. The market was purposively sampled based 
on the fact that sweetpotatoes are always available for sale in the market all year round. Most farmers in the 
neighbouring states of Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers bring their harvested 
sweetpotatoes to the market. One hundred wholesalers and one hundred retailers were randomly selected for the 
study. Data were collected with the aid of a well structured questionnaire. Data were collected from October to 
December 2009. 

Data were analyzed using descriptive statistical tools (frequency tables, means and percentages). Performance of 
sweetpotato marketing systems was analysed using cost and returns analysis, marketing margin and market 
efficiency as adopted by Obasi and Mejeha 2008; Anuebunwa,2008 as follows: 

Net Return (NR) = Total Return from sales - Total Marketing Cost 

Marketing Margin = Selling Price - Supply Price x 100 
Selling Price 

Marketing efficiency = Value added by marketing (Net Profit) x 100 
Total Marketing Cost 

The Gini coefficient (G) was used to determine the structure of the sweetpotato market. It is given as 

k 
G= 1-Extfi 

i=1 (Anuebunwa, 2008) 



where 



Xj= percentage of sweetpotato traders in the i th class of traders 

yi= cumulative percentage of sweetpotato traders in the i th class of traders 

k = number of classes 



Akinpelu A. O and Adenegan K.O: Continental J. Agricultural Economics 5: 7 - 13, 2011 



A situation where the Gini coefficient lies at implies that the market is a perfect market with perfect equality 
in the distribution and 1 implies perfect inequality in the distribution signifying an imperfect market. 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 

Table l(in the appendix) shows the socio-economic characteristics of sweetpotato traders in Umuahia market, 
Abia State. The table shows that male and female sweetpotato wholesalers are 74 percent 26 percent 
respectively while retailers are 65 percent and 35 percent. This implies gender specificity in these operations as 
female may perhaps be more efficient in sweetpotato retailing than male who are well disposed to source for the 
commodity in bulk in the rural areas. The table further reveals that about 45 percent of the wholesalers are 
between the ages of 30 -39 years while 52 percent of the retailers are between the ages of 40-49 years. The 
result is expected as respondents in these age brackets can take risks and initiatives which are expected factors 
in this type of marketing activities as they have the strength to move from one location to the other. 

Moreover, on ownership of shops where sweetpotato is marketed, the table shows that all the respondents rented 
the shops and rents are paid to the revenue department of the Local Government Area. It was gathered that 
defaulters would have his shop locked by the local council. Table 1 revealed that none of the respondents 
belonged to sweetpotato traders association, implying that prices for the crop are not determined by any 
association. According to Anuebunwa (2008), membership in traders association offers opportunity for the 
creation of implicit barriers to entry and exit into the trade. This influences the nature of the market. 
Nevertheless, the traders have information on the marketing of the crop as sweetpotatoes are uniformly heaped 
for sale in the market. The table shows that the retailers have more trading experience (16-20 years) than the 
wholesalers (11-15 years). A similar study by Okereke and Anthonio (1988) established a significant relationship 
between marketing experience and volume of sales in the wholesale and retail trades. 

Table 2 shows the distribution of sweetpotato wholesalers by monetary value of monthly purchases. The table 
reveals that N 28,215.00 was the average monthly purchases made by the wholesalers. About 7 percent of the 
wholesalers made monthly purchases of N275, 308.00 while 40 percent made monthly purchases of N55,060 
.00. A Gini coefficient of 0.819 implies inequality in the distribution showing the market to be an imperfect 
market. Similarly, at the retailers' level, Table 3 shows the average monthly purchases to be N19, 987.00. A 
Gini coefficient of 0.797 also implies inequality in the distribution. This is in consonance with previous works 
by Okereke and Anthonio (1988); Anuebunwa et al., (2006), and Anuebunwa (2002; 2007) respectively who 
reported an imperfect competitive markets for staple food. 

Table 4 revealed the marketing margin and the farmers' share in Umuahia market. It was shown that 
transportation recorded the highest cost item (N2, 000.00) at the wholesalers market while the highest cost item 
of NI, 500.00 was recorded for retailers. Higher marketing margin was recorded for the wholesalers than the 
retailers. Harrison et al, (1987) reported lack of competition; cost inefficiency, greater degree of uncertainty to 
be likely present at the wholesale level. These factors may perhaps be responsible for higher marketing margin 
recorded at the wholesalers' level. The farmers' shares were 77.34 per cent and 85.40 per cent respectively for 
wholesalers and retailers. The implication of this is that 22.66 per cent and 14.60 per cent respectively of 
sweetpotato consumers' expenditure went to the marketing system. Benefit - Cost ratio of 1.15 and 1.08 
respectively were recorded for both wholesalers and retailers. This implies that for every NI. 00 spent on 
sweetpotato the traders realized NI. 15 and NI. 08 respectively. This shows that sweetpotato marketing is 
pro fi table. 

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 

The study evaluated the performance of sweetpotato marketing system in Umuahia market, Abia State. The 
economic analysis showed that sweetpotato marketing system is an imperfect competitive market as shown by 
the results of the Gini coefficient. Moreover, the benefit- cost ratio showed that sweetpotato marketing is a 
profitable enterprise. The inefficiency recorded in the marketing system of sweetpotato could be improved by 
removing all factors that contributed to inefficiency. Government policies should be directed towards reducing 
transportation costs, rent charged by the Local Government authority and provision of micro credit for the 
traders to expand their purchases. 



Akinpelu A. O and Adenegan K.O: Continental J. Agricultural Economics 5: 7 - 13, 2011 



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clones. NRCRI, Annual Report. : 120-121. 

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Asumugha, G.N., (1999): Rate of return on improve sweetpotato production in the forest zone of Nigeria. The 
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Barau, A.D., Olukosi, J.O. and Admin, Y.A. (1993): Performance of the Nigerian Seed Cotton Market under the 
deregulated marketing system. Agricultural Systems in Africa. 3 (l):64-69. 

Durojaiye, B.O. and Showemimo, A.K. (1990): Economic Welfare Improvement through Funcţional Food 
Marketing Reform. The Nigerian Agricultural Journal. 25 (2):3 -13. 

Data, E.S., and Eronico, P.S. (1987): Storage performance of newly developed sweetpotato hybrids. Radix 9 
(l):3-5. 

Eluagu, L.S., Okonkwo,J.C, Ikeorgu, J., Ugwu, B.O., and Ene, L.S.O. (1989): Economics of sweetpotato 
production using improved management systems. NRCRI, Annual Report, 1989. :52-54. 

FAO (2004): Food and Agricultural Organization Statistics.www.fao.org. 

FAO (2009): Food and Agricultural Organization Statistics.www.fao.org. 

Harrison, K., Henley, D., Riley, H., Shaffer, J. (1987). Improving food marketing systems in developing 
countries: Experiences from Latin America Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University, 
East Lansing, Michigan. 

IYP, (2008): International Year of Potato: www. potato 2008.org. 

Kohl, R.E. and Uhl, J.N. (1990): Marketing agricultural products. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York. 

Kozai, T., C. Kubota, and Y. Kitaya. 1996a. Sweetpotato technology for saving the Global Issues on food, 
energy, natural resources and environment in the 21st century. Environment Control in Biology 34(2): 105-1 14. 

Kozai, T., C. Kubota and Y. Kitaya. 1996b. Greenhouse technology for saving the earth in the 21st 

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Netherlands. 139-152. (2). Hill, W.A., C. K. Bonsi and P. A. Loretan (editors).1992. Sweetpotato 

technology for the 21st century. Tuskegee University, Alabama, U.S. A. 607 pp. 

Nwadili, C.O., Nwauzor, E.C., Afuape, S.O., Kahya, S.S., and Njoku, S.C. (2007): Investigation on the effects 
of different organic manure on incidence and severity of root rot disease of sweetpotato in Nigeria. NRCRI, 
Annual Report 2007. :64 -67. 

Nwauzor, E.C. and Afuape, S.O. (2005): Collection and evaluation of sweetpotato germplasm. NRCRI , Annual 
Report 2005. : 49-50. 

Njoku, J.C. (2006): Multilocational Evaluation of New Sweetpotato Genotypes. NRCRI, Annual Report. : 124- 
157. 

Njoku, J.C. (2007): Effect of Cultivar and Time of Harvest on Yield and Total Carotenoid Content of 
Carotene- Based Sweetpotato Cultivars. NRCRI, Annual Report. : 45- 53. 

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The case of Onions. Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad) 71 (2):139-143. 

Obasi, I.O. and Mejeha, R.O. (2008): Structure, Conduct and Performance of Rice Market in Abia State, 
Nigeria. International Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development (IJARD) 11(1):160-165. 

Ogbonna, M.C., Nwauzor, E.C, Asumugha, G.N., Emehute, J.K.U., Korieocha, D.S., and Anyaegbunam, H.N. 
(2005): Cost and return analysis for the production of sweetpotato in Nigeria. A case study of NRCRI, 
Umudike. NRCRI, Annual Report 2005. : 73-76. 

Okereke,0 and Anthonio, Q.B.O. (1988): The structural characteristics of the market for grains in Eastern 
Nigeria. In Readings in Agricultural Marketing, Adekanye, T.O. (ed), Longman, Ibadan, Nigeria. :1 16-124. 

Tewe,0.0. Ojeniyi, E.E., and Abu, O. A. (2003) : Sweetpotato production, utilization and marketing in Nigeria. 
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Received for Publication: 12/02/201 1 
Accepted for Publication: 05/04/201 1 

Corresponding author: 

Akinpelu A. O and Adenegan K.O 

NIHORT, Umudike, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria 

Email: immadipo @yahoo.com 



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Akinpelu A. O and Adenegan K.O: Continental J. Agricultural Economics 5: 7 - 13, 2011 



Table 1 : Socio-economic characteristics of sweetpotato traders in Umuahia market, Abia State 



Variables 


Frequency 


Percentage 


(%) 


Sex 










Male 


74 


(65) 


74.00 


(65.00) 


Female 


26 


(35) 


26.00 


(35.00) 


Total 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Age (yrs) 










30-39 


45 


(35) 


45.00 


(35.00) 


40-49 


42 


(52) 


42.00 


(52.00) 


50-59 


13 


(13) 


13.00 


(13.00) 


Total 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Marital Status 










Single 


25 


(10) 


25.00 


(10.00) 


Married 


60 


(75) 


60.00 


(75.00) 


Divorced 


5 


(7) 


5.00 


(7.00) 


Widowed 


10 


(18) 


10.00 


(18.00) 


Total 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Educaţional Background 










No formal education 


10 


(22) 


10.00 


(22.00) 


Primary education 


73 


(63) 


73.00 


(63.00) 


Secondary education 


17 


(15) 


17.00 


(15.00) 


Total 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Occupation 










Full time trading 


85 


(73) 


85.00 


(73.00) 


Part time trading 


15 


(27) 


15.00 


(27.00) 


Total 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Trading Experience (yrs) 










1-5 


5 


(6) 


5.00 


(6.00) 


6-10 


9 


(7) 


9.00 


(7.00) 


11-15 


54 


(23) 


54.00 


(23.00) 


16-20 


32 


(64) 


32.00 


(64.00) 


Total 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Shop ownership 










Own shop 





(0) 


0.00 


(0.00) 


Rented shop 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Total 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Traders association 










Yes 





(0) 


0.00 


(0.00) 


No 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 


Total 


100 


(100) 


100.00 


(100.00) 



Source: Survey data 2009 

Figures in parenthesis are for retailers 



Table 2: Distribution of sweetpotato wholesalers by monetary value of monthly purchases in Umuahia market, Abia State 
Monthly Frequency % of Total value of % percentage of Cumulative % Xx^ 

purchases (N) wholesalers monthly total value of (y t ) 

(X]) purchases monthly purchases 
(N) 



10,000-15,000 




12 


40.00 


55,060.00 


6.50 


15,001-20,000 




8 


26.67 


119,450.00 


14.11 


20,001-25,000 




5 


16.67 


186,207.00 


21.99 


30,001-35,000 
















3 


10.00 


210,450.00 


24.90 








6.67 


275,308.00 


32.50 




Total 


30 


100.00 


846,475.00 


100.00 




Mean 






28,215.00 






Gini-coefficient 




0.819 





6.50 



0.026 



Source: Survey data 2009 



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Akinpelu A. O and Adenegan K.O: Continental J. Agricultural Economics 5: 7 - 13, 2011 



| Table 3: Distribution of sweetpotato retailers by monetary value of monthly purchases in Umuahia market, Abia State 
Monthly purchases Frequency % of Total value of % percentage of total Cumulative % 

(N) wholesale monthly value of monthly (yl) 

rs purchases purchases 

(xl) (N) 



Sxlyl 



5,000- 7,000 


9 


45.00 


25,060.00 


6.27 


7,001- 9,000 


5 


25.00 


53,503.00 


13.40 


9,001-11,000 


3 


15.00 


89,670.00 


22.43 


11,001-13,000 


2 


10.00 


101,304.00 


25.34 


13,001-15,000 


1 


5.00 


130,205.00 


32.57 



6.27 


0.028 


19.67 


0.034 


42.10 


0.034 


67.44 


0.025 


100.00 


0.016 



Total 


20 


100.00 


399,742.00 


100.00 


0.137 


Mean 






19,987.00 






Gini-coefficient 






0.797 







Source: Survey data 2009 

Table 4: Marketing margin and farmers' share in Umuahia market, Abia State 

t N/ton) Retailers (Ave. Cost N/ton) 



Parameters 


Wholesalers(Ave. 


Purchase price of sweetpotato (N) 


40,000.00 


Marketing cost (N) 




Variable cost: 




Transportation cost 


2,000.00 


Packaging material 


200.00 


Handling charges 


100.00 


Fixed cost (N) 




Rent 


1,500.00 


Security fee 


1,000.00 


Market maintenance fee 


200.00 


Total marketing cost (N) 


5,000.00 


Total cost (N) 


45,000.00 


Selling price (N) 


51,700.00 


Gross market margin 


11,700.00 


Marketing margin 


6,300.00 


Farmers' share (%) 


77.34 



45,600.00 



1,000.00 

100.00 

1,500.00 

1,000.00 

200.00 

3,800.00 

49,400.00 

53,410.00 

7,810.00 

4,010.00 

85.40 



Marketing efficiency (%) 


12.19 


7.50 


Return on capital (%) 


15.75 


8.79 


Benefit- Cost Ratio 


1.15 


1.08 



Source: Survey data 2009 



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